Arlington, Texas. Splash pads are supposed to be the source of endless summer fun, but one child in Arlington, Texas, ended up getting a rare brain-eating infection that took his life after playing on the town’s splash pad.
On September 5th, the city of Arlington was made aware that the little boy (whose name is not being released in order to protect his identity) was in Cook Children’s Medical Center and had been diagnosed with primary amebic meningoencephalitis.
Primary amebic meningoencephalitis is a rare kind of infection that affects the brain and always ends in fatality.
The infection itself is due to Naegleria fowleri ameba, which also is frequently called “brain-eating amoeba.”
“A Tarrant County Public Health investigation determined two possible sources for the child’s exposure to water containing N. fowleri: the family’s home in Tarrant County or the Don Misenhimer Park splash pad in Arlington,” the city of Arlington said in a press release.
“On Sept. 24, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the presence of active N. fowleri ameba at the splash pad from water samples and determined the Arlington site was the likely source of the child’s exposure.”
Arlington officials tested the water from the splash pads and sent the samples to the CDC, which found that the Naegleria fowleri ameba was present.
Officials then learned that the employees in charge of maintaining the splash pads were not testing the water on a daily basis and looking at the chlorine levels.
Making sure the water is treated properly with chlorine is an important part of keeping the water free of bacteria.